His text was simple. Short. Open to any topic. And I believe it was sincere. But still I sat there, unsure of how to respond to this:
Hey man how’s it going?
I hadn’t heard from John in a few weeks; the silence had been nice. Honestly. I was still fresh off the haunting of John’s twin, but I’d been working through that to the point where I no longer wanted to hurl myself off a cliff upon seeing his face. Then the text came in.
I stared at my phone, the words from his text seeming to float off the screen and burning themselves into my mind. Just a few short words. Five to be exact. And a question mark. A looming question on my screen, waiting to be answered.
I pondered the many options I had. I could respond right away and give the most vague and noncommittal answer possible. I could wait to type a decent reply once I had a moment to breathe at work. I could drop everything and type him a novel of details about my life.
I even considered telling him the truth.
I thought about telling him how I ache at the thought of him sometimes. I thought about telling him about how I’ve all but blocked him on social media. I thought about telling him I am even on the verge of blocking his phone number. I thought about sending him a link to this blog and telling him about being haunted by his “twin.”
Instead, I just sat there and looked at the text. I had no idea how to respond — what to say, what not to say. I processed all the outcomes and knew that, ultimately, nothing would change by anything I could do.
So, my breaking point with my best friend was this: I did nothing.
And I thought I was okay with that. But then a week later, I received another text from him:
Hey, man, I could use some prayer. Please.
John was asking for prayer. He was struggling with some personal issues. And he wanted to share them with me. He was reaching out for help.
I ignored him.
That’s right — I was so angry at him, so hurt by him, I decided to refuse to help a friend, a brother in Christ. I hit ignore and tried to shove him out of my mind.
You might be judging me right now — and you should. I did something terrible. Awful. Cruel. And it was at this point that I realized I might be doing something wrong.
I began praying through my feelings about John. I even prayed for him. I looked back at his text a few times to refresh my memory on what was going on in his life. And for the next ten days, I prayed for him each day.
Then, late last night, I did the unthinkable. I texted him. I texted John:
Hey, John. So here’s the deal. I wasn’t willing to let our friendship change. I couldn’t accept being friends living hours apart when we used to live right next to each other. This led me to have expectations that were unrealistic and, to be honest, unhealthy. This then led me to being hurt easily and repeatedly by my own hand. This hurt would turn to anger — anger at you and anger at myself. This anger would steam for a bit, then cool off. Over time, though, it took longer for the anger to cool after each time. The problem was that I never changed my expectations. Finally, I lost it and cut you out. Unfortunately, the only way to realize I was the main problem was to get by myself and realize the problem was still there. Please forgive me for all of this.
I had no idea what to expect or when to expect it.
But right away, he responded. His first words?
So good to hear from you!
That’s right. His initial response was happiness of hearing from me.
He and I texted a little, setting up a time to talk on the phone about this. All of this: the expectations, the shunning, the everything. And this time, I am not going to hold anything back.
See you on the other side . . .
Have you ever reached a breaking point with a best friend? How did you react to this breaking point? Did you fight or retreat?
* Photo courtesy txmx-2, Creative Commons.